February 2, 2016

ACE Study

ACE = Adverse Childhood Experience

Divorce creates an ACE for your children, but you can heal it with ongoing positive connections with both parents.


The famous ACE Study was conducted by the US Center for Disease Control and Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, CA beginning in the 1990’s and its analysis is ongoing. It definitively linked 10 adverse experiences in childhood to an increased risk of emotional and even physical disease both during childhood and later in life.

  • The bad news is that divorce is an ACE (Adverse Childhood Experience) for children. Restructuring the family is a traumatic event for everyone, and children of all ages may experience many losses due to their parents’ divorce.
  • The good news is that children can heal from the divorce through positive, ongoing relationships with their parents.

However, when the parents are in conflict, the necessary healing is not occurring.

The effects of parental conflict on children may be immediately apparent, such as negative behaviors and outbursts necessitating “frequent flier miles” to the school principal’s office. Or the effects may be invisible, showing up years later as:

  • Alcoholism and alcohol abuse
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Depression
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Illicit drug use
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Liver disease
  • Poor work performance
  • Financial stress
  • Risk for intimate partner violence
  • Multiple sexual partners
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Smoking
  • Suicide attempts
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • Early initiation of smoking
  • Early initiation of sexual activity
  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Risk for sexual violence
  • Poor academic achievement*
*This list is not exhaustive.  


As researcher Stephanie Coontz has stated:

“The worst problems for children stem from parental conflict, before, during, and after divorce or within marriage.” 

It doesn’t have to be that way.

You have the power … 

to affect the trajectory of your child’s life by reducing parental conflict and increasing positive parental connections with your child. The new brain science is showing that the effects of trauma can be reversed.

The core principles that support undoing or decreasing the effects of childhood trauma include:

  • recognizing the family as the constant in a child’s life;
  • providing children with close and consistent positive relationships;
  • creating rich environments and predictable routines that are conducive to learning; and
  • offering developmentally appropriate, safe, and individualized opportunities to develop new skills and express emotions. Source: Multiplying Connections

TED TALK: Listen as Dr. Nadine Burke Harris explains: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Over a Lifetime

You love your children.

You want them to be successful, confident, and HAPPY in life.

You want to model healthy ways of resolving conflict so that your children know how to create their own healthy relationships in the future.

That is the #1 reason to reduce the conflict with your co-parent today. 

If I accept your case, I will be acting as your mediator or parenting facilitator. I will not be acting as your attorney and I will not be giving you legal advice.